OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A group of 23 House Democrats is encouraging Governor Jay Inslee to veto a bill that would provide tax breaks for manufacturing companies.
One reason cited: a lack of transparency in the budget process.
"I think the biggest concern I have, and I've heard from a lot of my colleagues, is that this tax cut received very little scrutiny in the legislative process. It never received a hearing in the House Finance Committee. So legislators as well as the public just have not had a chance to weigh in on whether this large cut is the right thing to do for manufacturers, or for the other taxpayers of our state who would have to pick up the slack," said Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien.
Lawmakers and the public had less than a day to review the negotiated budget agreement.
"There's no requirement that these manufacturers keep jobs in the state. There's no requirements that they reduce air pollution or water pollution," said Fitzgibbon. "If we're going to be giving a more than 50 percent tax cut to certain businesses, I think we should make sure the public is getting some accountability that there will be jobs kept in this state and less pollution, and that wasn't in this proposal."
The bill is up for the governor's signature Friday afternoon.
On Thursday he wouldn't say if he was going to veto it.
"We'll prefer to talk about that tomorrow," said Inslee. But he added, "The concerns are legitimate about the process of this just taking place in the dark of night, with a lack of transparency. I understand that."
Senator John Braun, R-Lewis County, the lead budget negotiator for the Republicans, said it's "disappointing and disturbing" if the governor even considers a veto.
"Hopefully that's not what will happen," said Braun, "but it will make for negotiations, both now in the future, very difficult if we feel like we can't complete a deal that was made; that's going to make a hard problem even harder.
It's not just Republicans pushing the plan. The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce also supports the tax breaks for manufacturers, saying they have the potential to help more than 10,000 companies throughout the state and support economic prosperity.
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